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Lancaster takes second stage and leaders jersey at Tour of California


Under wet and cold conditions, very similar to last year’s Santa Rosa finish, Brett Lancaster (Aus) rose to the occasion today to out sprint Peter Sagan (Svk – Liquigas-Doimo) and claim the second stage victory and the race’s GC leader position. Lars Boom (Ned-Robobank) finished in third place.

Cervélo sport director Jean Paul van Poppel admitted the team hadn’t planned on Lancaster racing for the stage win, but it worked out nicely for the team regardless. The strategy was to have Lancaster lead out teammate Heinrich Haussler (Ger) instead. “[Haussler] was unlucky and had a mechanical problem, so he had to stop,” said Van Poppel. “We put him back on his spare bike, it took a while to get him there. He finished in the group behind at 1:17 when he should have made it.”

“It would have been Brett doing the lead out for Heino. Brett beat Sagan – a rider who’s won already 4-5 races this year. I think he did a great job. It’s not so easy. We knew this guy was fast, but Brett was faster today.”

“We have the leader’s jersey, so we have to put our heads together and see what the smart thing is to do,” he added. “We know the team of Lance is controlling the race completely, and we know tomorrow is a hard finish. It’s where Levi took his chance last year. We just have to stay with them and do our work when it’s necessary, but maybe not taking the whole race on our shoulders. I don’t think they expect that from us.”

Team Cervelo’s Brett Lancaster and teammate Heinrich Haussler try to dry off after crossing the finish line during the rainy second stage of the Amgen Tour of California on May 17, 2010.

“It wasn’t too bad at the start of the race but when it started raining it got quite cold. I got really cold myself and shakey,” said Brett Lancaster at the media conference following his win. “When we got to the first steep climb Radio Shack gave it all they had and it was really an effort to make it to the front group then we went to the next climb and I got dropped about a kilometre from the top, but I used my climbing skills and got back on about half way down. Survival skills take over in this weather. In the group at the top a couple of guys tried to go with me and I think they wiped themselves out. I kept up my nutrition, eating all the time, to keep up my energy.

“The last circuit wasn’t that bad in the rain, except for those white lines and cateyes in the road that you have. I saw Karl Menzies, a fellow Australian, hit one and slide out on the last corner. At the finish I saw Sagan and was watching him. I knew he was my main competition he’s young and very fast. I might have head out a bit too early but I kept my head down and kept accelerating. He did come up quite quick at the end. I don’t think I timed it perfectly.

“Me and Heino had planned it out, this was one of the stages we had marked but he had bike troubles and nearly crashed in front of me and had to change bikes so maybe it was a blessing in disguise that it happened to him and I had my chance today. I’m not sure how my form was today because I’ve been up in Boulder four weeks training and I hadn’t done any altitude training for about ten years. I was a bit skeptical about doing it but I guess it’s paid off.”


Stage 2: Davis – Santa Rosa 177.2km
1 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervélo Test Team
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo
3 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team

General classification
1 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervélo Test Team
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo
3 Karl Menzies (Aus) Unitedhealthcare

Photo: TDWsport.com